The Cleveland Indians have some great infield talent but also big needs. Third base is a real question mark for the Tribe. Jose Ramirez should stay at second base.
Well, here we are. It’s a Brand New Year. Our Tribe is about $20 million “richer” than last year and ever so much needier for the coming season. Please say it ain’t over.
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. I am Bruce Porter, a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan and a denizen of mostly-sunny Florence, Arizona (a bit south of Phoenix and spring training). I grew up near Akron, Ohio, moved about the world for a bit courtesy of both my Uncle Sam and, later, gainful employment. I won’t say I’m old—I didn’t quite exist when our Indians won their last World Series, those folks are REALLY old–but I do remember hearing the big kids bragging that our own Larry Doby was surely the best center fielder in all of baseball.
Which brings me back to our present infield, my New Year hopes, and just where we are headed. Changes abound and most of us are working hard to find the silver lining.
Replacing Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonzo with Carlos Santana and (maybe) Jake Bauers is probably a wash. Edwin is on the downward slide and it was important to relieve ourselves of his bloated contract. Though Carlos’s streakiness sometimes rivaled Edwin, I could at least predict when Santana would break out of the doldrums (hint: two line drives in one game that aren’t severely pulled).
The other corner of the infield is a guess. But please, oh please, don’t move Jose back to third base! We have messed with the poor guy’s head enough. The middle of the infield is as good as it gets with Jose at 2nd base. It’s time to epoxy him in, sit back and enjoy the Lindor/Hosie show. Rather put Kipnis at the hot corner than move Hosie again. OK, almost kidding there, but surely even Santana would be better moved to third base than disrupting Jose Ramirez yet again.
We all have to live with the reality of a small market team. I get that we needed to cut payroll. But I’m still trying to figure out the upside of the mess that is/was Francisco Mejia and Yan Gomes. Kinda like we worked hard to manufacture a catching crisis. And wouldn’t those infield issues have shaken out with Yandy Diaz still on the roster?
I’ll leave the outfield to a future post. Sigh… Please say it ain’t over.